A conservative nation.

Even our friends at Hoover are starting to accept the reality that the nation is trending center left, not center right.

Here’s the stark reality: It is now harder for the Republican presidential candidate to get to 50.1 percent than for the Democrat. My Hoover Institution colleague David Brady and Douglas Rivers of the research firm YouGovPolimetrix have been analyzing data from online interviews with 12,000 people in both 2004 and 2008. It shows an overall shift to the Democrats of six percentage points. As they write in the forthcoming edition of Policy Review, “The decline of Republican strength occurs by having strong Republicans become weak Republicans, weak Republicans becoming independents, and independents leaning more Democratic or even becoming Democrats.” This is a portrait of an electorate moving from center-right to center-left.

Yep.  But all things are relative – at a certain level drawing lines in the sand are artificial, as NRO’s Ramesh Ponnuru observes.

Tod Lindberg argues that conservatives are fooling themselves if they think that the U.S. is a “center-right nation.” Me, I’m not sure what it would mean for the country to be either “center-right” or “center-left.” I can see the point of saying that the country is “center right” if the point is that we are, compared to most developed countries, a bit more religious, free-market, and nationalistic in orientation. If that’s all it means to say “center right,” though, we could probably go through a long period of political domination by liberals and still qualify. And I’m not sure what else the phrase could mean.

Ezra Klein has a good discussion.  The US Political system in general is not parliamentary like many countries and the process itself is conservative, meaning it is engineered to prevent a lot of quick, dramatic action.  And our expectations should reflect this.  Read his comments in full.


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